Influencer Kim Kardashian boasted on her networks of a full body MRI (at $2,500 per procedure!) to detect possible cancer and quite simply “save her life”. A speech strongly criticized by doctors, but which questions: is there a screening medicine accessible to some and not to others?
It is not to promote her range of make-up or skin underwear that influencer Kim Kardashian has distinguished herself in recent days, but to address a more serious subject. On August 9, the star published a post on Instagram, posing in front of a Prenuvo MRI machine in which she seems to have undergone an examination.
Kim Kardashian, sandwich woman for an imaging company?
“The Prenuvo body scanner has the ability to detect cancer and diseases such as aneurysms in their early stages, before symptoms appear” she wrote in a post that has more than 3 million likes to date.
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An act at 2500 € recommended by the star, even without any symptoms
The reality TV star thus evokes the significant screening power of the Prenuvo MRI, which could have saved the lives of some of his friends. A $2,500 act that is not reimbursed and has no health coverage. It was enough to trigger the ire of American doctors who denounced a commercial operation.
These first call into question the very effectiveness of the chosen technology (an imaging technique associated with artificial intelligence software), like other methods previously touted by Kim Kardashian, such as therapies or even tea cures.
“It is not an appropriate screening tool for a multiplicity of human diseases and potentially emerging conditions,” said Dr. Stuart Fischer, an internal medicine physician in New York, to the DailyMail, which relays this invalidation.
It is clear that the company does not bother to prove the usefulness of its system before marketing it, as if the addition of the term “Artificial Intelligence” and the validation of a reality TV star were enough… “Prenuvo analyzes have not been studied in no clinical trialsand screening asymptomatic people with imaging generally results in more harm (via false positives) than benefit (true positives)” adds Dr. Tyler Black, psychiatrist and pharmacologist, on Twitter, citing the idea of “vulture medicine”.
To be ultra clear, @prenuvo scans, which are a Vancouver thing, have not been studied in any clinical trial, and typically screening asymptomatic people with imaging leads to more harm (via false positives) than benefit (true positives).
— Tyler Black, MD (@tylerblack32) August 9, 2023
L‘American College of Preventive Medicine does not recommend whole-body scans for people without symptoms, citing a lack of evidence of their effectiveness.
Kim Kardashian opens a hot debate
The other criticism is, of course, that of the cost, unthinkable for most inhabitants: “Kim is for rich people. People can’t afford to eat right now”; “The majority of society cannot even afford insurance for a simple health check” can we read under the post of the young woman.
Is Kim Kardashian completely disconnected from reality with her announcement? Not necessarily… Consulted on the subject, Dr Christophe De Jaeger, physiologist and researcher in aging evokes a spotlight (thanks to the popularity of the young woman) on a controversy which today concerns all the health system global :
This“We cannot say that this screening is without interest. It is obvious that if you give an MRI to an entire population aged 30, 40, 50 and over, for their protection, you will find unknown pathologies in some and be able to treat them, even save them. Medically speaking, it is therefore of interest. But immediately after, there is the question of the cost, because one million MRIs organized would reduce social security to nothing, for example. To avoid the question of reimbursement, to avoid this situation, the medical institution answers directly “it has no interest”. It is a biased reasoning, of protection of the system, but not a reasoning of health “.
The medical interest and the additional cost must also be considered in the light of the many false positives that such examinations would undoubtedly generate. Suspicious detections which would then give rise to other invasive examinations, a significant proportion of which would ultimately prove useless… apart from the stress and secondary effects linked to these additional examinations.
Curative acts VS prevention: is this the health of tomorrow?
For the doctor, technology, AI and progress would also cause an imminent changeover: “Technology is in the process of opposing two systems: a purely pathological system, which corresponds to the notion of health insurance with what is covered, and a health system where we want to prevent as soon as possible , even in asymptomatic people, early signs of disease. These are two systems whose logic is different and which will collide violently” does he perceive. According to the doctor, if the curative answer costs less money than a preventive logic, it will be privileged for the moment.
But for those who would like and could “afford” these expensive examinations, it opens up. the way to a two-speed medicine? According to Dr. de Jaeger, “The risk in this context is that medicine increasingly eludes doctors. And that financial systems sell through special insurance, proposals outside the medical circuit, such as prevention to those who can afford it.